Malta’s 2023 GSSE medal winners were honoured during the 20th edition of its annual Gala Sports Awards, an evening dedicated to celebrating the pinnacle of athletic achievement in Malta.
This annual event brought together the nation’s sporting elite who are honoured for their outstanding accomplishments in the international sporting scene.
This year was particularly special due to the success Malta achieved in the Games of the Small States of Europe which were hosted in Malta in June and which resulted in Malta achieving the highest-ever medal tally as well as finishing at the top of the medals table for the first time in the Games history.
The Maltese Olympic Committee thoroughly evaluated all nominations received by means of a newly introduced Awards criteria structure.
The changes were designed to reflect, more appropriately, the nature of each athlete’s nominated competition result, ensuring that the recognition bestowed is not only well-deserved but also tailored to the unique accomplishments achieved on the grand stage of international competition.
As a result, 56 athletes and teams were presented with an award on the evening.
The highest honour of the evening, the Gold Award, was presented to Clayton Castaldi, who wrote the history books in the game of pool in Malta when he was crowned world champion after triumphing in the singles tournament final played in Agadir, Morocco.
Castaldi was the first-ever Maltese player to lift the world title in the singles competition.
The evening also saw the distribution of financial bonuses to medal winners at the Games hosted in Malta earlier this year. The unanimous decision to present these bonuses during the Gala Sports Awards was taken in collaboration with the National Federations and concerned athletes earlier this year.
All GSSE medal winners were also presented with a special memento highlighting their achievements in the Games.
“The 20th Edition of the MOC Gala Sports Awards emphasise the fact that Maltese athletes have embraced a competitive spirit, moving beyond mere participation,” MOC deputy president Paul Sultana said.
“This approach serves as a powerful motivation, inspiring heightened dedication and effort.
Today’s celebration stands as a prime example of the positive outcomes that stem from this committed mindset”.
Hall of Fame
The Maltese Olympic Committee inducted two prominent figures of Maltese sport, Robert Ebejer and Jack Schiavone, into its coveted Hall of Fame, which gives recognition to those athletes, officials, administrators and sports journalists who in their work have strived and worked to spread the spirit of the Olympic ideals.
Robert Ebejer has an illustrious career to his name. A former president of the Aquatic Sports Association of Malta, a post he held for 17 years he was also elected as LEN Bureau Member.
In 2003, he won the Official of the Year Award from Għaqda Kittieba Sports and in 2012 recognised by SportMalta for his contribution to Maltese sport.
Ebejer’s efforts saw Malta host the European Swimming and Diving Championships which saw Malta welcome over 1,000 participants from 28 countries.
Still very active on the local scene, he is an ASA honorary president and an honorary member of LEN.
The second Hall of Fame inductee for the evening was the late cyclist Schiavone.
Cycling was a huge and essential part of his life. Twice national road champion in 1999 and 2002 and a two-time national time trial champion in 2003 and 2004.
Schiavone represented Malta in several international competitions, including, the Mediterranean Games, Commonwealth Games, as well as several Games of the Small States of Europe.
More recently he completed three Ironman triathlons and the brutal Marathon des Sables. A highly respected figure in the cycling community he made valuable contributions to help young cyclists grow, develop and progress in this sport.
On his part, Julian Pace Bonello, the MOC president said: “This evening is about celebrating our nation’s sporting pride. It fills me with immense pride to see so many achievements being recognised today.
“These athletes have forged a path of excellence through their dedication and unwavering commitment. For this I thank them but I also would like to thank the Government, National Development & Social Fund, European Olympic Committees, for providing their crucial financial support, a testament to their belief in our athletes’ potential.
“This year, a particularly special year for Maltese sport, saw entities like the Maltese Olympic Committee, SportMalta and Government work together for the good of sport and for which these results were made possible.”
In a statement, the Maltese Olympic Committee said that it was grateful towards the various organisations and entities who have shown their support throughout the year, namely SportMalta, NDSF, Olympic Solidarity, European Olympic Committees, BOV, Enemed, Full Marks, Go, GSD, Heartbeat Clinic, Malta International Airport, MITA, National Lottery, Planet Physio, Saint James Hospital, Sterling Jewellers, VisitMalta, Welbee’s Supermarket, The Concept Stadium, Toyota, Vini e Capricci.
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